A new website encouraging British Muslims to learn more about organ donation has now launched. Visitors to the site will be asked to register their decision, and share it with their families. 

OrganDonationInIslam.com summarises what the Islamic position on organ donation is, sets out the 2020 law change and answers some common questions around donating.

The charity New Horizons in British Islam has been working with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) on the site to help address the critical shortage of organ donors from black, Asian, mixed race and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME).

Figures from 2019 show that almost a third (31%) of those waiting for a transplant are from BAME backgrounds. That is despite BAME people making up just 14% of the population. 

A survey by NHSBT also found that 75% of Muslim respondents said they had never spoken about organ donation to anyone ever. 

A spokesperson from New Horizons in British Islam said, “British Muslims have lots of questions about how organ donation sits with their faith and the process but they don’t seem to be talking about it with their families. 

“We’re positive the website OrganDonationInIslam.com can be a tool to answer questions, help people make an informed decision and to encourage Muslims to have an honest and open dialogue with their families about it.

“One of the most important conversations people can have in their lives is about death.”

Amjid Ali was on the organ donor register for 23 years before he received a kidney in 2011. He said: 

"The New Horizons in British Islam website on Organ Donation in Islam will help to raise awareness of the Organ Donation Law change in England.  It compliments and supports the ongoing work of NHS Blood and Transplant and Community Partners to build links with diverse Muslim communities living in the UK.  I very much hope that this resource will help visitors to the website in their search for additional information about the Organ Donation Law Change and the current faith position of Organ Donation in Islam.”

In May 2020 the law around organ donation in England changed to an opt out system. This means that unless you have recorded a decision to opt out, or are in an excluded group, it will be considered that you have agreed to donate your organs when you die. The decision to bring in this law is aimed at helping save more lives. The NHS says that someone dies from waiting for a transplant every day in the UK.

Since the law change in May, more than 167,000 people have removed themselves from the organ donation list. According to NHS Blood and Transplant, at least 23% of them are black or Asian.

Harpreet Matharu, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said, “We hope this new law change will prompt all of us to consider whether or not we would want to donate our organs and encourage us all to register and share our decision with our family and friends. It’s important that people know they still and will always have a choice. Families will still be consulted, and people’s faith, beliefs and culture will continue to be respected.  

“We know that families are more likely to say yes to donation if they have had the discussion are aware of what their loved one wanted.

“Death can be a difficult subject and especially in BAME communities it can quite often be seen as a taboo subject. We are hoping the new change in law will be the perfect opportunity to get these important conversations going.”